Most adults—about 94%—who have high blood lead levels (BLLs) are exposed to it in the workplace. This can cause:
- An increased risk of miscarriage
- Decreased fertility
- Kidney problems
- Nervous system dysfunction
They can also expose their families to lead by bringing lead dust home with them. Around 2-3% of kids with BLLs of 10 µg/dL or more are exposed to lead in this way.
State law (PDF) requires the reporting of all residents’ blood lead test results to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). The Wisconsin Adult Lead Program and Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program work with lab-based reporting systems and labs to make sure all results are reported.
Summary of Wisconsin’s reporting rule
- Health care providers send test samples and required information—including the patient’s employer and occupation—to a clinical (analyzing) lab
- Labs report test results and required information to DHS
Clinics using point-of-care instruments to test must also report results to DHS.
How to report
Report results electronically through the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene. Labs and health care providers who are new to reporting adult blood lead test results can request an account by completing the Account Request for Web-based Laboratory Reporting (WLR) form. Please email CDDELR@slh.wisc.edu for technical support.
An alternative reporting method for tests analyzed at the clinic is to report via fax. To do so, complete the blood lead reporting form (F-00017) (DOCX) and fax it to 608-267-0402.
- Within 24 hours for BLLs of 45 µg/dL or more
- Within 48 hours for BLLs between 5 µg/dL and 44.9 µg/dL
- Within 10 days for BLLs less than 5 µg/dL
Summary of lab report requirements
- Current street address (unit number, city, county, ZIP code; no PO Boxes)
- If 16 or older and employed:
- Employer’s name and address
- If under 18:
- Parent or guardian name and phone number
- Lab name, address, and phone
- Patient’s name (first, middle initial, last)
- Patient’s phone number
- Physician name and address (if different from the submitting provider)
- Result in µg/dL
- Sample collection date
- Sample type (venous or capillary)
- Submitting health care provider name, address, and phone number
In the lab order, the health care provider must include required demographic information, including the employer and occupation. Employer and occupation information should be included in the report within the HL7 message (often NK1-13 and NK1-10 fields). If the employer and occupation are missing from the lab order, you can call the health care provider to get this information.
Enforcement and penalty for not reporting required data
DHS can report violations of the reporting rule to the county’s district attorney. Penalties range from $100 to $5,000. Each day the violation occurs is treated as a separate offense.
State law (PDF) requires that all blood lead test results for Wisconsin residents be reported to DHS. This helps DHS identify and track emerging public health trends and notify adult residents with high BLL levels. ABLES is in charge of analyzing adult lead test data and reporting these data to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
- After Action Report: Investigation of Lead Exposures Among Workers at Fraser Shipyard, 2016-2017, P-01996 (PDF)
- DHS occupational health website
- Keep Your Family Safe: Don’t Bring Lead Home from Your Job, P-01737
- Lead Testing: Also Important in Adults, P-01293 (PDF)
- New Jersey Department of Health’s fact sheet: Right to Know: Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet (PDF) (Spanish version)
- Protecting Shipworkers from Lead, P-01625 (PDF)